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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Captain of the Starship Troy

From Sue...

This item (clicky) is scheduled to be brought forward at the Monday, February 7, 2011, City Council meeting.

At first glance, it would seem that this is (FINALLY) the plan that Martin Howrylak must have had up his sleeve when he encouraged Troy residents to vote down the only other viable option we had to save the Troy Public Library when he mailed his very strongly worded admonition against Proposal 1 last October. Oddly, it would seem to imply that Mr. Howrylak wants the citizenry to believe that he is an ardent supporter of the library. Juxtaposed to his letter, I find that very odd indeed.

Given the language, it would also seem that Mr. Howrylak wants us to believe that HE ALONE somehow has the power to order the city manager to (with apologies to Capt. Jean Luc Picard) "make it so" and get that funding right now, gosh darn it, with the amended budget to be presented no later than February 21, 2010.

(Uh...when?)

The impression this resolution gives is that the city has been less than forthright in its accounting. By stating that the city has some unallocated funding sufficient enough to put toward a now-decimated library budget, Mr. Howrylak would seem to be saying that the city has been holding out on us. I think I've been pretty spot on in showing how this is not the case. One need only read this explanation to show how misguided Mr. Howrylak truly is.

The only possible explanation for this is that Mr. Howrylak wants to give the impression that Troy is being mismanaged, and that he is the only one on city council fighting against it. Given that he is eligible for a bid for Mayor in November, this should come as no surprise to anyone. Of course, I've made my feelings pretty clear about how I feel about his behavior, too.

Here's one of the problems I see with Mr. Howrylak's apparent logic: if Troy were truly so ill-managed, we wouldn't be winning awards for our successes. We wouldn't be garnering acclaim as one of the safest cities in the NATION nine times out of the last 10-15 years. We wouldn't be recognized for forward-thinking budgetary practices by other cities and organizations. We wouldn't have been able to sustain the superb city services we've had until now with the dwindling revenue received from having the third lowest millage rate among cities in Oakland County. (See documentation of this here.)

But now? Now that our city has been so forward thinking with planning and stretching the budget and has realized it cannot continue WITHOUT INCREASED REVENUE...NOW Mr. Howrylak wants to use all of our fund balance to save the library -- a fund balance that technically isn't really even fully THERE anymore given that is has to cover projected shortfalls over the next several years. Moreover, besides not really even HAVING the money to spend, using it leaves the city without a safety net should we have record snowfalls and/or other public works needs. (You know, like in a week where we have 10+ inches of snow on a Wednesday and another 3-4 on the following Saturday and then a projected additional 1-2 on Sunday...)

Perhaps the most compelling reason Mr. Howrylak's resolution is completely nonsensical is that the existence of that money is tied to our city's bond rating. Depleting it would cause a change in our rating which then cause an increase in our expenses. In other words, it would COST US MONEY to SPEND ALL OF THAT MONEY.

Mr. Howrylak, we see this most recent grandstanding for exactly what it is: another attempt to sway attention from the real problems in our city to yourself. Unfortunately for you, we are not unwitting victims of the Borg. We will not be assimilated.

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